Reporting on the mental health of a man who tried to build a machine gun was “genuinely relevant” and fair, the UK press regulator the Independent Press Standards Organisation ruled.
The issue came up when a man named Llifon Huw Jones complained over a March 1 Daily Post article about him, headlined, “Inside the troubled mind of man who built machine gun.” The article reported he was convicted of trying to build a submachine gun, and noted he posted conspiracy theories online, including that he could seize land based on the Magna Carta.
The article also called him a “fanatic who terrified his neighbours so much they put a steel door on their bedroom,” and reported the judge called him a “danger to the public.”
The Daily Post’s publisher declined to comment to iMediaEthics on the ruling.
Huw Jones was upset about the article, arguing it was discriminatory to report on his mental illness and unfair to call his mind “warped,” and to call him a rebel and fanatic.
While the Daily Post apologized for offending him, the paper stood by its report, calling it relevant and newsworthy. Regarding the words “fanatic”, “warped”, and “troubled,” the Daily Post defended their usage based on their definition and editorial use. The paper offered to apologize in print to resolve the matter, but Huw Jones rejected that.
IPSO weighed the complaint and found that mental health was relevant given it came up during court. As such, “the question for the Committee was whether the article contained specific prejudicial or pejorative references to the complainant’s mental health,” IPSO explained. IPSO ruled that it wasn’t pejorative to use the words “warped”, “fanatic” and “troubled”, given the context of information addressed in court.
iMediaEthics has written to the Daily Post‘s parent company Reach PLC.